The mercenary commander Jaffier [Jeff Beihl] looks down on Venice from the Bell Tower, debating its fate, which he holds in his hands … “Am I permitted to be as insensitive as the sun … I who can see the city that must perish?”
The tone shifts in the room – from exposition and gentle mockery we’ve now settled into a genuine mood of contemplation. The last words hang in the air … and we shift into another theatrical gear altogether. Lights come down. Three actors enter the white playing area, and begin the first full scene … a Venetian Courtesan and two mercenaries.
DL: So … is this scene political?
Woman 1: It’s pitiful. The way you’ve described Simone Weil and her work is all about pity.
CW: I don’t feel sorry for Weil. She’s got contradictions, but –
W1: How can you step in boiling oil by accident?!
DL: Okay, let’s table that – back to the scene for the moment …
Women 2: I don’t think it’s political – it’s a personal point of view, a story of personal experience.
DL: But doesn’t that come out of a political situation?
W2: I don’t see it – it’s all about her.
DL: Okay, let’s compare it with something else …